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Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall, Inc. Records

Identifier: UR001290

Scope and Content

The papers of Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall, Inc. consist of correspondence, minutes, printed material, programs, reports, clippings, press releases and financial records related to the administration, marketing and public relations of the DSO. The papers also reflect the orchestra's community outreach and cultural activities and the influence of Music Directors, Paul Paray, Sixten Ending, Antal Dorati, Gunther Herbig and Neeme Jarvi.

Important subjects in the collection: Afro-American musicians American Symphony Orchestra League Collective bargaining--Musicians Conductors (Music)--Michigan--Detroit Detroit Federation of Musicians Local 5 Detroit (Mich.)-Cultural affairs-Music Detroit Symphony League Gunther Herbig Meadowbrook Music Festival--Michigan Orchestra Hall--Michigan--Detroit Public relation--Performing arts Strikes and lockouts--Performing arts Symphony orchestras--Michigan--Detroit Women's Association for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Important correspondents in the collection: Bruce Carr Lewis Dickens III AntalDorati Sixten Ending Neeme Jarvi Cecile Keith Walter J. McCarthy Walter T. Murphy Paul Paray Peter Remington Robert B. Semple Werner Torkanowsky

Series Description: Series I, Administrative Files, 1951-1986 Series II, Marketing and Public Relations, 1950-1986


  • 1950 - 1986
  • Majority of material found within 1962 - 1986


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) grew out of a meeting of ten young women on January 8, 1914 at the home of Mrs. Alexander Sibley. To provide Detroit with culture, the women raised money for the first concert of the DSO presented on November 19, 1914. One of the orchestra's first music directors, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, demanded the DSO have a permanent home to give it a greater sense of professionalism. Designed by C. Howard Crane and built in 1919, Orchestra Hall served this purpose until 1956, when Henry and Edsel Ford Auditorium opened. The DSO returned to Orchestra Hall in 1989 because of its excellent acoustics. The DSO not only performs regular subscription concerts and special concerts at its home, but also a series of Young People's Conceits and school conceits, outstate and national tour concerts, free concerts, mid-season festivals as well as the summer Meadow Brook Music Festival, radio broadcasts, and recordings. In 1979 me DSO made its first trip to Europe. The DSO also operates the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra, a pre-professional youth training orchestra.


48 Linear Feet (48 SB)


The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) grew out of an attempt by a group of ten young women in 1914 to provide Detroit with culture. A permanent home, Orchestra Hall, was built in 1919 by C. Howard Crane. The DSO performs regular subscription and special concerts, as well as provides a number of special events and programs outside of Orchestra Hall. The records of the DSO relate its administration, marketing, and public relations, as well as the orchestra's community outreach, cultural activities, and influence of its music directors.


Arranged in 2 Series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-31), and Series 2 (Boxes 32-48).

PLEASE NOTE: Folders are computer-arranged alphabetically within each series in this finding aid, but may actually be dispersed throughout several boxes in the collection. Note carefully the box number for each folder heading.


Several broadcast master tapes of DSO concerts produced by WDET Radio during the 1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons and a number of photographs have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Guide to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall, Inc. Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA